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Patriot Torqx 2 256GB Solid State Drive Review

With the Patriot Pyro now available, where does that leave the entry level Torqx 2?

@ChrisRamseyer
Published Mon, Aug 8 2011 1:02 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:01 PM CST
Rating: 64%Manufacturer: Patriot Memory

Introduction

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Back in May we previewed the Patriot Torqx 2 120GB solid state drive and found that it offered average mainstream performance that was better than the large OEM system builder solutions. In short, that was code for saying the 120GB model sucked for enthusiasts, but then again, this isn't an enthusiast SSD. The Torqx 2 did offer low access times that were a lot less than platter drives, so Twitface and web surfers still get the SSD feel, but only see small performance increases when transferring data.

After Patriot released the Torqx 2, they followed it up with the 2011 flagship WildFire that uses a SandForce SF-2281 controller and synchronous flash, and then the Pyro that uses the same SandForce SF-2281 controller, but paired it with asynchronous flash. The price difference between the Pyro and the Torqx 2 at the time of writing is very small, so that leads us to wonder what Patriot is planning to do with the Torqx 2 and the long established Torqx Series of products all together.

The original Patriot Torqx featured an Indilinx Barefoot controller that was paired with Samsung flash and was quite a performance beast when launched. The most notable feature, though, was the 10 year warranty that Patriot gave the drive, the longest for a consumer SSD to date. Then Patriot launched the Torqx TRB, a JMicron controlled drive available only in 32GB and 64GB capacity sizes. It was the TRB model that moved the Torqx from the enthusiast section and into the mainstream product market. The massive 10 year warranty was shortened to 3 years. The warranty has taken an even further hit and is now down to just 2 years with the new drive. Now we have the Torqx 2 with a Phison controller and this is the product we'll be looking at today.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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Even those who follow the solid state drive market have most likely never heard of Phison. Phison makes SSD controllers and has been doing so for a very long time. Some of the first SSDs to ship in pre-built systems sported Phison controllers and for the most part these controllers have stayed in that market. The Torqx 2 uses a new Phison controller and it's almost certain this controller will once again be a big hit with system OEMs since it offers low access times at a very low price.

The performance of the new Torqx 2 shows that you get what you pay for. With only 270MB/s read and 230MB/s write speed, the Torqx 2 isn't as fast as last year's Inferno product, but sells for the same price at this time. The Inferno isn't going to last much longer with the new WildFire and Pyro hitting the market. With the Pyro having an almost identical cost, the Torqx 2 might actually be the shortest lived SSD to ever hit the market if Patriot chooses to run with an all SandForce line-up.

It may seem like I'm being hard on the Torqx 2 right out of the gate, so let me explain why. At the time of writing the Torqx 2 256GB that we are reviewing today costs 489.99 USD at Newegg after a mail-in rebate. The drive doesn't ship with a desktop adapter bracket and the performance is less than half of that of the flagship Patriot WildFire that is currently selling for just 514.99 USD for the 240GB model! - To add insult to injury, the WildFire ships with a desktop adapter bracket and is one of the fastest SSDs we've ever tested. There might not be any justice in e-tail pricing, but we have the scales of justice out today. I know what you are thinking, the WildFire still costs more than the Torqx 2, but the 240GB Vertex 3 actually costs less than the Torqx 2 after the mail-in rebate, 459.99.

The Packaging

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Patriot has a really attractive package design for the Torqx 2. The graphics on the package carry over to the graphics on the drive and everything goes together nicely. There is hardly any information on the package, but you do get to see the drive and that shows you the capacity size.

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The back of the package gives you some general information about the Torqx 2 Series, but is void of performance data.

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The inner packaging holds the drive secure, but the package doesn't ship with a desktop adapter bracket.

The Patriot Torqx 2 240GB

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Here we get our first look at the Patriot Torqx 2. It's actually really difficult to get a good picture that shows the Torqx 2 logo since it's a reflective chrome finish. The capacity size is listed right on the front and it also shows that the drive can use SATA I or SATA II connections.

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The back of the drive lists the model and serial numbers. Also, you will see the four mounting locations on the back of the drive where they should be.

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The side of the drive also has the standard four mounting locations.

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The SATA power and data connectors are offset to their proper location.

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It's impossible to get the PCB out of the drive case without destroying the plastic wedge retainers, so we only have a shot of this side of the drive. Patriot used a Phison P33105 controller and paired it with a Hynix cache module and Toshiba flash.

Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: AVADirect, GIGABYTE, Cooler Master, LSI, Corsair and Noctua.

You can read more about TweakTown's Storage Product Testing Workstation and the procedures followed to test products in this article.

The Patriot Torqx 2 uses the SATA II (SATA 3G) interface which is native on every motherboard sold in the last three years.

ATTO Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

ATTO is used by many disk manufacturers to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers.

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Using ATTO we were able to coax just over 260MB/s read and just fewer than 235MB/s write speeds. This is way off from the new Patriot Pyro that costs just a couple of Dollars more and even less than the Patriot Inferno from 2010 that you can find on e-tail websites for the same amount of money.

Benchmarks - HD Tune Pro

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00

Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: measures the performance

Info: shows detailed information

Health: checks the health status by using SMART

Error Scan: scans the surface for errors

Temperature display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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When reading across the drive, we see that the Torqx 2 isn't a contender to the 2011 drives, but fits in closer to last year's models represented on our charts by the Vertex 2. The read access in the drive test shows the Torqx 2 is comparable in this synthetic test.

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When writing across the drive, the Torqx 2 isn't as fast as the Vertex 2.

Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time

AIDA64 Random Access Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.

Drives with only one or two tests displayed in the write test mean that they have failed the test and their Maximum and possibly their Average Scores were very high after the cached fills. This usually happens only with controllers manufactured by JMicron and Toshiba.

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The part that saves the Patriot Torqx 2 if Patriot gets its pricing in line, is the drives ability to access data quickly like an SSD should. Here we see that the Torqx 2 takes a little longer to access data when compared to the SandForce based drives, but nowhere near as long as the platter drive at the bottom of the chart. This means your programs will open quickly and your boot up time will be reduced if coming from a platter drive.

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The write access time is quite high for a SSD in 2011, but the Phison controller in the Torqx 2 does a much better job writing data than mainstream products based on Toshiba and JMicron controlled drives.

Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

Developer Homepage: http://crystalmark.info

Product Homepage: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html

Download here: http://crystaldew.info/category/software/crystaldiskmark

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy.

Key Features:-

* Sequential reads/writes

* Random 4KB/512KB reads/writes

* Text copy

* Change dialog design

* internationalization (i18n)

Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at 4 and 32.

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The 4k reads of the Torqx 2 measure just under 15MB/s which is not that great, but performance does increase when you get to high queue depths.

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Just like the JMicron and Toshiba mainstream controllers, the Phison controller doesn't scale at all with NCQ. You do get a solid 52MB/s write speed, but as you can see, that is pretty low compared to the other models on the chart that only cost a little more and in some case cost less.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage Hard Disk Tests

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark-vantage/

Buy It Here

PCMark Vantage is the first objective hardware performance benchmark for PCs running 32 and 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. PCMark Vantage is perfectly suited for benchmarking any type of Microsoft Windows Vista PC from multimedia home entertainment systems and laptops to dedicated workstations and high-end gaming rigs. Regardless of whether the benchmarker is an artist or an IT Professional, PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing.

FutureMark has developed a good set of hard disk tests for their PCMark Vantage Suite. Windows users can count on Vantage to show them how a drive will perform in normal day to day usage scenarios. For most users these are the tests that matter since many of the old hat ways to measure performance have become ineffective to measure true Windows performance.

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HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading

I can't say I have anything nice to say about the real world performance and will let the chart speak for itself.

PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing

For a complete breakdown on the Drives with Data Testing please read this article. You will be able to perform this test at home with the files provided in the article, full instructions are included.

Brief Methodology

SSDs perform differently when used for a period of time and when data is already present on the drive. The purpose of the Drives with Data testing is to show how a drive performs in these 'dirty' states. SSDs also need time to recover, either with TRIM or onboard garbage collection methods.

Drives with Data Testing - 25%, 50%, 75% Full States and Dirty / Empty Test

Files needed for 60 (64GB), 120 (128GB), 240 (256GB)

60GB Fill - 15GB, 30GB, 45GB

120GB Fill - 30GB, 60GB, 90GB

240GB Fill - 60GB, 120GB, 160GB

Empty but Dirty - a test run just after the fill tests and shows if a drive needs time to recover or if performance is instantly restored.

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HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading

The Patriot Torqx 2 doesn't lose as much performance when the drive has data present, but then again, when you start at such a low point it's difficult to go much lower.

Benchmarks - AS SSD

AS SSD Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.3577.40358

Developer Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software

Product Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software

Download here: http://www.alex-is.de/PHP/fusion/downloads.php?cat_id=4&download_id=9

AS determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without the use of the operating system caches.

In all synthetic tests the test file size is 1GB. AS can also determine the access time of the SSD, the access of which the drive is determined to read through the entire capacity of the SSD (Full Stroke). The write access test is only to be met with a 1 GB big test file. At the end of the tests three values for the read and write as well as the overall performance will be issued. In addition to the calculated values which are shown in MB/s, they are also represented in IO per seconds (IOPS).

Note: AS SSD is a great benchmark for many tests, but since Crystal Disk Mark covers a broader range of 4K tests and HD Tune Pro covering sequential speeds, we will only use the Copy Benchmark from AS SSD.

- Copy Benchmark

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Transferring data from one portion of the drive to another isn't too bad, but once again, nowhere near the other drives. If the pricing were better this might actually make a pretty decent drive for the PS3 since the PS3 doesn't take advantage of NCQing or advanced SATA II technologies.

Benchmarks - Passmark

Passmark Advanced Multi-User Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.passmark.com

Test Homepage: http://www.passmark.com

Many users complain that I/O Meter is too complicated of a benchmark to replicate results so my quest to find an alternative was started. Passmark has added several multi-user tests that measure a hard drives ability to operate in a multi-user environment.

The tests use different settings to mimic basic multi-user operations as they would play out on your server. Variances is read / write percentage as well as random / sequential reads are common in certain applications, Web Servers read nearly 100% of the time while Database Servers write a small amount of data.

The Workstation test is the only single user environment and will be similar to how you use your system at home.

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As you can imagine, the server test results are abysmal.

Final Thoughts

With its above average price and bottom of the barrel performance, the Patriot Torqx 2 shouldn't be purchased by anyone. Those shopping for a 200 USD 120 / 128GB capacity drive should direct their search toward the Patriot Pyro if using SATA III or any number of the remaining SandForce SF-1200 drives still using 32nm flash if using SATA II. If you are looking for a larger capacity drive like a 240 / 256GB, then keep an eye out for the Patriot WildFire or OCZ Technology Vertex 3.

Patriot made the ultimate uncool SSD and to be honest, the Torqx line has been going in this direction for a couple of years now. Patriot and other manufacturers need to learn that the whole illusion of a mainstream SSD based on subpar controllers is an illusion. The performance gap between these JMicron, Phison and low end Toshiba controllers is too great when compared to controllers from Marvell, Intel and SandForce. The only way to affectively make a mainstream SSD is to take a great controller and dumb it down like what is happening now to the SF-2281 drives that are paired with low cost 25nm MLC asynchronous flash.

That said, I don't want to see Toshiba, JMicron or Phison exit the SSD controller market, because at some point they may come up with an actual working product that is appealing to someone. Back in January Toshiba showed us an enterprise drive capable of delivering over 500MB/s performance. It's too bad they kept it in the enterprise sector and didn't come up with a consumer version. I would say a Toshiba drive delivering 500MB/s would be a nice addition to the SSD market, but a subpar Phison controller that isn't even able to reach the full potential of SATA II doesn't fly in 2011, the drive delivers performance that can only compete with offerings from two years ago. Then you top that off with some ridicules price point and the whole product just gives SSDs a bad name since there are people out there buying this stuff based solely on Patriot's reputation for making high quality SSDs.

If someone were to actually spend 450+ USD on a Patriot Torqx 2 240GB, they would have a bad taste in their mouth and feel like a sucker. I'm going to stop there and go wash my mouth out with some scope.

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